Australian Rural-lit, of a Scottish settler family by historical fiction author and artist Kathryn Shell
A Visit to Scotland by E J Lamprey
There’s an old joke about a tour guide saying, as he took a party around Edinburgh Castle, “this bit is exactly as it was in the 11th century, no modernisation has been done in any way.” One of the tourists said to her friend, in a piercing whisper, “That’s Edinburgh Council for you!”
Edinburgh is extraordinary. I live about twenty miles away, on the Firth of Forth (the Forth river estuary, to a non-Scot) and take my visitors in by train as that’s the easiest option, buses and trams and taxis in every direction on the receiving end when our feet start to hurt.
There’s the added bonus that as you emerge from Waverly station you are in the very heart of the city and can do a 360 degree turn to see the city rising up its hills in every direction, ancient and modern buildings, the Scott monument close at hand and the Castle rearing high in the distance. There’s nearly always a piper playing near the monument, which not all see as an advantage, but still, it’s very evocative, and I personally love the pipes!
Of course there’s more to Scotland than Edinburgh, ask any Glaswegian. It isn’t a very big country: you can cross from east coast to west in time for a late lunch, then drive north alongside Loch Ness, the deepest coldest longest loch in the world, and still reach Inverness, the gateway to the Highlands, by nightfall. You’ll pass castle after castle, loch after loch, mountains and nature reserves, and there are stories and sidetrips every step of the way. Worth a trip? Oh yes.
But - bring a raincoat. We do get good weather, and as I type this it is sunny and a very pleasant twenty degrees outside. The gloaming will last until well after ten pm tonight, because this is May - but we have four seasons in every day, even in the best weather, and the worst weather is dreich (dull and damp) for weeks on end, making you suddenly understand why your Scottish ancestors have spread all round the world!
About author E J Lamprey
Elizabeth (E J) Lamprey lives in Scotland, within easy distance of Edinburgh. She loves Scotland but accepts that with a mere fifteen years residence she is still considered a tourist, albeit a tenacious one.
She has been variously a book reviewer on a city paper, a columnist in a national magazine, a copy-editor and critiquer, a commercial blogger and a reporter on a country newspaper, usually alongside more conventional jobs, using her maiden name, her married name, or Lamprey, which is just one of the four names with which she was lavishly endowed at birth, and the one she likes the most.
Writing a series of cheerful whodunits set in a Scottish retirement village is her favourite occupation, but a secret passion for SF led to a couple of books appearing under the name Joanna Lamprey. Quite recently the research into singles websites that started with the third Lawns book spawned another book, this time under the tongue-in-cheek name Clarissa Rodgers-Briskleigh.
One thing all the books share is the celebration of being no longer young, yet quite definitely not yet old. It is nature's unexpected and welcome gift, a burst of autumn sunshine and energy, and although that wasn't the original intention, all the books celebrate it to the full.
The Grasshopper Lawns books
All my Grasshopper Lawns books are set in the Firth of Forth area which is around 20 miles from Edinburgh, but only one of them, Seven Eight Play It Straight, spends a lot of time in Edinburgh, for the festival. However, it does go underground, and I talk a lot about the Old Town in the book, Seven Eight Plays it Straight.
Ryn Shell started blogging in 2007, while also writing and painting each day. Since then she’s attracted over a half million unique visitors from over one-hundred countries to her site. Ryn Shell is the winner of numerous prestigious professional awards from portraiture, landscape and still life-floral studies in the mediums of oils, watercolour, pastels and drawing plus pottery, sculpture ,and literature, She is generous with advice to her students which has endeared readers to her. She assists ethical authors, (ethical = authors of literature they'd be proud to have their children and parent's read and know they wrote) who have a proven record of assisting their peers, to showcase their writing. Ryn Shell's paintings are beautiful, and beyond fashion, her novels timeless, Her blog commentary centres around her experiences while creating each piece – stories about the gardens, land, and the wildlife she paints. Ryn Shell developed the multi-award winning Buninyong Gallery with her husband Reg Shell and has taken art exhibitions on tour around Australia, and especially through regional and the outback communities. She has painted commissions for an International clientele, and represented Australia at the International Artists’ Festival, Ryn Shell has been featured in the Australia Artist Magazine, and on Channel 9/WIN Television Network,